You have worked hard to get your company on the map by offering an innovative product or service in demand. You strive to keep competitive in your field by hiring the best employees. However, do you really know what company culture is and how it affects your business? And, do you have an idea on how your company culture would rank when you ask the difficult questions?
A company’s culture commonly refers to employees’ shared beliefs and values and how they’re “brought to life” in the workplace. Every company has its own company culture brand image projected. There is no one-size-fits-all.
Take some time to find out how your company is being perceived by several audiences—candidates, employees, and former employees.
1. Review every aspect of the interview process
Some key aspects of the interview process would include: preparation, tone, work area environment, types of questions asked, as well as discussion on your company culture.
Have you clearly defined the position skills and requirements on the job description? Do you have your phone on silent or calls forwarded, so there aren't distractions during the interview?
As the interviewer, the tone you set, will project either a positive or negative image of the company. Take measures to ensure you're passing along the right one.
Work Area Environment
Does it appear your employees are engaged with one another, projecting a positive image? Is the work area relatively clean or is stuff piled all over the place? Do what you can to have the environment portray a desirable area to the candidate. Remember, you'll want them to "see" themselves here.
Are you prepared with a line of questioning to ask the candidate? Typically, behavioral interview questions will reveal how a candidate would react in certain situations. And, are you ready to answer questions the candidate may have about the position, your management style, or the company culture?
Grasp the perception that potential top talent may have when they walk in the door. And, as everyone knows, first impressions make a difference. Employees spend much of their day at work, so an upbeat, healthy workplace is known to lead to a collaborative team-oriented environment.
2. Survey existing employees' perceptions
There are a variety of ways to find out how your existing employees feel about the company culture. Consider asking your HR department to survey employees; ask specifically crafted questions in employee performance appraisals to get at the conclusion of how employees feel and/or hire a third-party organization to conduct interviews on your behalf. One quick way to gauge how your existing employees feel, is by reading company reviews on popular sites such as Glassdoor or Linkedin. Employees can post anonymously—both the pros and cons of working at your company—as well as offer advice to management. Areas that may need improvement may be revealed by answering the questions below:
What behaviors from employees are recognized, rewarded, or ignored?
Do you foster an environment where your employees are empowered or paralyzed when faced with making an on-the-spot decision?
If an employee disagreed with a decision being made by their manager, could they express their opinion freely or would they worry about blowback?
Your employee handbook should clearly outline the outcome for employees when certain behaviors occur. The way your employees respond to certain situations may reflect on how customers perceive your business. Employees like to feel their opinion is valued, so a degree of openness by the manager could prove beneficial.
3. Review Exit Interviews
A successful business person will look to the past to shape the future. Take the time to review past employee exit interviews for comments from past employees, which may reveal some constructive criticism. If you observe a pattern of similar feedback, seriously consider following up on it. Take caution to take “inflamed” remarks with a grain of salt, keeping in mind that this interview was taken upon an employee’s exit—which can sometimes blur realities.
After taking the time to investigate your company culture, you should have an idea on how to craft a strategy to make a transition toward a greater company culture. Going forward, measure results both qualitatively and quantitatively. Together, the results will provide a clear picture how your company culture ranks. Make sure you and your executive team ‘walk the talk’ to be effective. Lastly, remember it is a living project and needs to constantly be re-visited.